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Utility bills head money worries

Utility bills head money worries

Category: Money

Updated: 21/06/2011
First Published: 21/06/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
The vast majority of British adults are worried about the health of their finances, with utility bills leading the money worries.

Four out of five (80%) people worry about money, and it is utility bills (21%), and personal debt (21%) that most concern us, figures from The Co-operative Bank show.

Last winter, all of the major energy companies in the UK hiked their gas and electricity tariffs, blaming the rising cost of wholesale prices.

Rising energy bills have played a large part in keeping inflation at more than double the target level.

Paying the bills every month is proving a challenge for many.

Over a quarter of people who overspend each year (28%) admit to missing bill payments completely, with credit card companies (33%), telephone providers (14%) and electricity companies (10%) being hardest hit.

A third (33%) of those polled who have missed payments have done so for more than one month.

"The fact that 80% of consumers are currently worried about money is a saddening yet unsurprising figure given the current economic climate and increasing cost of living," John Hughes, director of retail banking at the Co-operative Financial Services, said.

"However the research findings also demonstrate some hope, nearly a third are continuing to overspend and this is something that can be addressed to help put money worries to bed.

"By taking an organised approach to finances, consumers can plan ahead and avoid financial pitfalls such as missed bill payments that end up leading to additional charges."

However, the research has revealed that Britons are acknowledging the importance of savings with half (50%) currently saving on average £230 into an account every month - a slight rise on average monthly savings last year of £225.

It also found that through being thrifty households have managed to save an average of £513 on general living expenses this year mainly by cutting down on non-essential spending.

To aid consumers them with their efforts, people have been given a number of tips to help them cut back on their outgoings.

  • Regularly review your bank statements - identify what's eating your money and see where you can save. Simple steps such as taking lunch into work can help savings mount up.
  • Plan ahead - having an idea of what is due to go out of your account will help you to meet regular bill payments and put money aside accordingly.
  • Start a rainy day fund - transfer a set amount each month into a savings account so you're always covered for unexpected expenses.
  • Live more efficiently - turning off lights and not wasting water or food will make your money go further and look after the environment.

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